Study 5 JUSTIFICATION
GREAT WORDS OF THE GOSPEL
by Francis Dixon
(Scripture Portions: Luke 18: 9-14; Romans 5: 1-11)
The question asked in Job 25:4 is still being asked today, and the glorious message of the gospel is that God has provided a perfect and an entirely satisfactory way of justifying the ungodly (Romans 3:26; 4:5).
1. WHAT IS THE MEANING OF JUSTIFICATION?
Look up Acts 13:38-39, and notice that through believing we receive “forgiveness of sins” (verse 38), and we are “justified” (verse 39). Justification is more than forgiveness; it is to be cleared of all blame and to be free from every charge. In an earthly court, a judge cannot both forgive a man and justify him at the same time, for if he forgives him then the man must be guilty and therefore he cannot be justified; on the other hand, if he justifies him, he does not need forgiveness. God, however, undertakes both to forgive the sin and to justify the sinner; that is, to forgive the guilty and condemned sinner and to place him in a new position where there is no charge against him at all (Romans 8:1).
2. HOW ARE WE JUSTIFIED?
The Word of God makes it clear that no one is justified by his own effort or works – look up Romans 3:20; Galatians 2:16 and 3:11. This was the fatal error made by the Pharisee in our Lord’s parable – Luke 18:11-12. No works of ours, no good resolutions or reformation can justify us or contribute one little bit to our justification. It is as though a murderer, feeling sorry for his crime, would do all the good deeds possible and would imagine that by thus doing he would be justified in the eyes of the law and saved from the executioner. All the good deeds in the world could do nothing to justify him. Likewise, all the good deeds of a sinner can do nothing towards his justification. In the New Testament, justification is presented to us in seven aspects.
- We are justified by GOD: the AUTHOR of Justification. Look up Romans 3:26; 4:5 and 8:33, where we are told that God is the giver of justification.
- We are justified by GRACE; the PRINCIPLE of Justification. This means that we are justified without any merit on our part – look up Titus 3:7 and Romans 3:24. The word “freely” denotes that there is nothing in us to deserve it, and no means whereby we can earn it.
- We are justified by BLOOD: the GROUND of Justification. A holy God must have a righteous basis on which to justify ungodly sinners, and this is found in the blood of the cross. Man, as a condemned sinner, can only atone for his sin by paying the death penalty (Romans 6:23). As “all have sinned” (Romans 3:23), God’s law demands that all must die. God so loves us, however, that through the death of His Son, who took our place upon the cross, all the righteous demands of the law against the sinner have been fully met, and all the claims of God’s holiness have been satisfied.
- We are justified by FAITH: the CONDITION of Justification. The one human condition for being justified is believing on the Lord Jesus Christ – look up Romans 3:22-28, and compare Romans 5:1; 4:5 and Galatians 2:16.
- We are justified by RESURRECTION: the GUARANTEE of Justification. In Romans 4:25 we are told that the resurrection of the Lord Jesus was the visible proof that God was satisfied with His finished work, that justification is available for all men, and that all believers are justified.
- We are justified by WORKS: the EVIDENCE of Justification. If we compare Romans 3:20 and James 2:24, we are faced with what appears to be a contradiction, but there is no contradiction – see what James 2:20 says. Works are the evidence of faith. Wherever there is real faith it will be followed by works – see James 2:18.
- We are justified by EXPERIENCE: the RESULTS of Justification. In other words, certain wonderful things take place as the result of our justification. What are these?
3. WHAT ARE THE RESULTS OF JUSTIFICATION?
There are seven of them enumerated in Romans 5:1-11. The chapter begins, “Therefore since we have been justified (having been counted righteous)”… what?
- “We have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (verse 1). “We were God’s enemies” (verse 10), but at Calvary our Lord Jesus Christ reconciled us to God (Romans 5:10), and made peace (Colossians 1:20).
- “We have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand” (verse 2). This means that being justified we have an entrance, or a welcome, into the presence of God -compare John 10:9 and Hebrews 10:19.
- “And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God” (verse 2). The word “hope” does not imply uncertainty; it refers to the assurance which we have that God will consummate His purpose in and for all whom He justifies. It means – Colossians 3:4 and
- “We rejoice in our sufferings” (verse 3). Four reasons are given in verses 4 and 5. This means that when trials and testings come we are able to say – 2 Corinthians 4:17! Look up Acts 14:22; 2 Corinthians 4:8-10; 6:4-10 and 1 Thessalonians 3:3.
- “God has poured out his love into our hearts” (verse 5). This is His love in four dimensions – Ephesians 3:17-18; and with His love in our hearts, we love each other (1 John 3:14).
- “The Holy Spirit… whom he has given us” (verse 5). The moment God justifies us we become indwelt by the Holy Spirit – compare John 14:16-17; Romans 8:9 and 1 Corinthians 6:19.
- “We also rejoice in God” (verse 11). Literally, “we exult in God.” How wonderful this is! We, who were condemned, lost sinners, now by His grace, being justified, rejoice in Him!